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GCSE RE Quiz

Christianity - The Bible in Life

This GCSE RE Christianity quiz takes a look at the Bible in life. It's one thing to know about the origins and content of the Holy Bible; but what about the ways in which Christians 'live by it', i.e. seek (individually and collectively) to deepen their understanding, and conduct their everyday lives and decisions accordingly?

Although the Bible is an established, ‘canonical’ (i.e., closed) body of Scripture ~ its principal contents broadly agreed upon across the worldwide Christian churches, and to which no modern writers can add (except by providing notes or separate commentaries) ~ it is an integral influence upon the lives of people and communities, from household to state level. Millions of people consult it daily in the belief that it ‘speaks’ to them and their circumstances.

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At time of drafting this quiz, citizens of the United Kingdom have been offered a referendum on whether or not we should remain within the European Union. One might say this is a clear-enough-cut example of ‘loving one’s neighbour’, in Biblical terms, at a historical point where fewer and fewer people are left alive who directly remember the grimnesses of the Second World War. Whichever way that referendum goes, there may well (as usual in a reasonably healthy democracy) be genuine Christians with views either way as to which course might better benefit more people.

Meanwhile at Oberhausen in Germany, a Protestant church has recently opened itself to accommodate Muslim refugees from troubled regions beyond the EU … to the extent of stripping out not only the church seating and other fitments, but even the ceremonial crosses (from which symbols, their admirable charity springs) for fear of offending the in-comers. With the best of intentions, no doubt, this particular detail still sits, somehow, strangely askew with Christ’s exhortation to ‘take up your cross daily, deny yourself and follow me’ in living out the life of faith and expressing God's love in practical ways (See Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 16).

We certainly live in a complex world; our quiz touches on some ways in which the Bible continues to feed into daily life.

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  1. There are now almost innumerable versions and printings of the Bible in every known language, and sometimes with particular editorial emphasis for a given denomination or some other reason (e.g. versions that try their hardest to avoid emphasising 'he' when referring to individual believers, who might of course just as easily be female).
    One of the following is NOT ~ at least, at time of writing ~ known to be genuine: which one?
    There has been a Scots New Testament, but never a whole Bible in Lowland Scots. All the other English translations listed are genuine.
  2. Two American businessmen founded an organisation which puts copies of the Holy Bible into otherwise 'anonymous' places such as hotels, hospitals and prisons ~ where people may be spending stretches of time alone but under various stress and tension. They named their organisation after a doughty Bible character who rallied support for God's cause in difficult times. Who was he?
    The vivid story of Gideon can be read in the Book of Judges ... in any Gideon Bible or other version. You can find out more about the foundation and activities of Gideons International online. As you may know, the Gideons also distribute pocket Bibles to schoolchildren ~ these editions usually consisting of the Psalms and New Testament only, for reasons of space and economy.
  3. Practising Christians will obviously strive to be responsible and harmonious citizens, drawing their examples and priorities from what they find in their Scriptures ~ as would people of other faiths, no doubt. Which of the following areas of concern is probably mentioned the LEAST (if at all, as such) in the Bible?
    Although the Creation story in Genesis, and other later passages, suggest God has given 'stewardship' of the created world to humankind, there is little direct preaching on environmentalism (as we now think of it). Modern issues of pollution, population and pandemics were hardly such direct concerns in Bible times, though there were plenty of conflicts and illnesses about. If we regard ourselves as charged with 'honouring God' in not being selfish over the environment ~ i.e. that we should do our best to 'leave it as we found it' for generations who happen to need to occupy/use it after us ~ then some moral imperative does become clear.
  4. Which of the following is the method of regular individual Bible study opted-for by most serious believers?
    The question did specify 'individual' study ~ so worthy though answers 1 & 2 are, they don't quite fit. Answer 4 may be better than nothing, but there is a hoary story of someone at their wits' end who gave this three tries, and believed they were being told: 'And he went away and hanged himself' ('He' here being Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Jesus); 'Go ye and do likewise' (Jesus' exhortation after telling the Parable of the Good Samaritan); 'That which you have to do, go and do it quickly' (Jesus' quiet cue to Judas before Judas slipped away from the Last Supper).

    Meanwhile, there are plentiful Bible study aids available, from physical leaflets to 'apps', from such organisations as Scripture Union and the Bible Reading Fellowship.
  5. Non-believing critics might claim that the Bible, most of whose texts were more or less 'done and dusted' 2,000 or more years ago, has little to teach anyone about modern living ... since things have changed so much, not least in the past couple of centuries with travel and technology etc. But if you have been online recently ~ other than for our quizzes, of course ~ there is quite a lot of pertinent guidance in the Ten Commandments. Which of these could you claim never to have been tempted to disobey while you were online, and perhaps using 'social media'?
    Answer 4 may seem a less obvious temptation ~ though if 'worship' is more broadly interpreted as the giving of absolute priority in one's time, energies and money, in an age of celebrities it can be easy to become overly-obsessed with individual performers in the worlds of sport and entertainment, for instance; or with one's own appearance, home, hobbies or even one's IT equipment (versus other people's!).
  6. A helpful way to study the Bible can be to memorise individual verses on an organised basis: such as looking at the many times when God (or an angel) appears to someone and they are told 'Do not be afraid'. If you focused on these one-a-day, how long would it take to complete the series?
    There are in fact 365 such instances. No doubt there is a book or course out there somewhere to help one through it, and you would get to know an interesting range of Bible characters and their stories!
  7. Even in what some people call a 'post-Christian era', Bible stories, phrases and ideas crop up a good deal in daily life and culture. Each of the following is a life-precept from Scripture ... apart from which ONE?
    Answer 2 may sound like a quotation from the King James Bible (see above) but in fact is a platitudinous piece of advice from Polonius in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Another clue about it not being genuine might be that it seems un-Biblically self-centred (there are many Bible characters who behave that way, and tend to end up dead &/or wiser).
  8. When the Reformation came about (around 500 years ago, i.e. 1/4 of the way back through the Christian era), one major feature of it was that the Bible should be freely available in anyone's local language: this in an age when printing had barely come to Europe, so books were still rare and precious. Which of the following was NOT legally enforced in England at that time?
    We doubt there could ever have been such a material as non-flammable paper; certainly not back then. The chaining (answer 2) was certainly true ~ though one might wonder who, un-Biblically, might wish to steal such a particular text (not least because it was a bulky edition for public display: 40cms or so along its long side).
  9. One particular Book in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible is read &/or worked-through on a regular basis in churches, monasteries and by individuals ~ usually every month, sometimes every year, possibly even every week. Which Book is this?
    The Psalter, with its 150 Psalms covering almost every human mood and circumstance, was in effect the 'hymnbook of the ancient Jews', known and quoted as such by Jesus himself who had grown up in that heritage. The whole Psalter is set to be read or sung-through every month in the Morning and Evening Prayer cycle of the Church of England and other branches, and in the Benedictine (and probably other) monastic order/s of the Catholic church.
  10. Among much else, Jesus taught the value of a simple positive faith, rather than an obsession (in some powerful traditional religious quarters) with scrupulously obeying large numbers of detailed negative restrictions. Which of the options below most closely summarises the nub of His teaching on this?
    This was Jesus' further summary of the 10 Commandments, and is frequently quoted in churches. The underlying reasoning is that if we positively love and honour God, and value everyone we meet, it should rarely occur to us to do anything that would cause harm. We might even allude to the otherwise unconnected song title 'Accentuate the positive' ... at any rate, fewer and simpler affirmative rules for life make it potentially easier to live out one's faith.

Author: Ian Miles

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